4. THE LAME WALK Paralysis healing

Created: Friday, 17 May 2013 Last Updated: Monday, 31 March 2014
4. THE LAME WALK
Paralysis healing

1. The signs that people were waiting for, what seemed to be unthinkable, what was announced by the prophets, are fulfilled in Jesus´ evangelization. Let us see what happened in that house filled with disciples where one of those signs is accomplished: “The lame walk” (Mt 11, 5). If we take the passage about the paralytic (Mk 2, 1-12) as an evangelization outline, like catechesis, we can discover in it evangelization constants valid for any time. Even more, we can discover which is our position before Jesus, if we listen to his word in a specific situation.
2. Some days later, Jesus returned to Capernaum and it became known that he was at home. So many  were gathered that there was no room even at the door. Jesus preached the Word to them. Jesus came again to his town, as he was always moving around. The news is quickly known: “The news spread that he was at home”. His person and mission provokes a special attraction.
3. The site of evangelization is a house, a humble place, but friendly and with a great power to penetrate the society. In a special manner, Jesus’ community and the newborn Church were disseminated using this way (through houses). The house is full of disciples. In this group something fundamental for the spreading of the Gospel can be seen: the community
4.      Something special must happen in that house so packed with people that no more can enter. The key is this: Jesus is announcing the Word to them. It is different. The contrast of Jesus’ teaching with that of the scribes: Jesus teaches as “someone who has authority” (Mk 1, 22). He has in himself the presence of the Kingdom of God. God speaks, God acts. Faith experience is at last at the reach of your hand, you feel it.
5. They come to bring him a paralytic carried by four men. Unable to get him near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him and through the opening they made, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying. The group that meets where Jesus evangelize is an open group: the paralytic, who just arrived, fits, and he, besides, occupies the center of the meeting. The paralytic (whatever kind of paralysis he has) finds himself in a helpless situation. But he has heard to talk about Jesus and his signals. And he also counts on the help of several believers who were with him, the stretcher-bearers.
6.      Since Abraham began his journey following the word of God (Gn 12, 1-5) an immense adventure began in which the main problem is to acknowledge God´s ways and to follow them. When this is forgotten, prophet’s word denounces and questions: “How long will you follow two ways at the same time? If Yahweh is your God, follow him” (1 R 18, 21). Jesus calls us to follow him (Mt 4, 19); he is the way, the truth and the life (Jn 14, 6).
7. What do the stretcher-bearers do? They do not limit themselves to pray.  They accompany the paralytic, support his weight, and take him to that home where a group of disciples listen to the Word; they overcome the difficulties they find on their way, they pass over everyone and everything, they get him through the roof, they place him in the middle.
8.  The paralytic, on his part, has an initial conversion: he has heard to talk about the signals that Jesus does, he agrees to be carried by stretcher-bearers, he enters into the group of disciples that listen to the Word, he passes from what is individual to what it is community, he starts to listen. He cannot make a step in the Gospel’s way, but he has an initial conversion and, besides, a group of believers who accompany him.
9. Vatican Council II values initial conversion in this way: “This conversion has to be considered really as initial, but it is sufficient so that man can perceive that, freed of sin, he is introduced into the mystery of the love of God, who calls him to start a personal communication with Him”. Fundamental conversion comes afterwards. By the action of God’s grace, the newly converted starts a spiritual journey, he passes from the old man to the new man: This transition brings a progressive change of feelings and customs that must become manifest in their social consequences and to develop gradually during the catechumenate. Being the Lord, in whom we are confident, object of contradiction, the converted will often feel ruptures and separations, but also joys that God gives without any measure (AG 13).
10. When Jesus saw their faith, with this guarantee, he announces to the paralytic the forgiveness, the amnesty, the justification: “Your sins are forgiven”. To the initial conversion of the paralytic, Jesus answers with total forgiveness, with the good news of forgiveness from God. It is like saying to him: God has nothing against you. God loves you. God told it to Nicodemus: “Whoever believes in him will not be judged” (Jn 3, 18). It is to say, he is already favourably judged by God. It is an essential part of the good news of the Gospel.
11.  In Jesus’ evangelization another constant appears: scribes and Pharisees opposition, questioning Jesus authority. It is the conflict dimension that will culminate in the cross.  In effect, Pharisee’s reaction arrival will not be delayed. Jesus senses it at the bottom of their hearts: “Why does he speak like this? He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?” What scandalize the Pharisee is not only the mentality of the process that Jesus applies when evaluating the initial conversion of the paralytic and the function of those who accompany him. It is not only the gratuitous disproportion proper of the Gospel that an initial conversion is followed by total forgiveness. It is the fact itself of forgiveness in the name of God. According to them, Jesus is not proclaiming the Word of God; on the contrary: he is blaspheming.
12.  But now you shall know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins, he said to the paralytic: “I tell you, rise, take up your mat and go home.” The sign that Jesus is neither healing arbitrarily nor usurping God’s place is this: the paralytic begins to walk. One of the expected signals: “Will the lame leap like a stag” (Is 35, 6). If the paralytic begins to walk, then it is God himself who acts, cures and forgives in Jesus’ evangelization. The signal is perceived and celebrated by everybody. They are witnesses: They were all astounded and glorified God, saying: We have never seen anything like this.
* Dialogue: How do we situate ourselves before Jesus?
- Outside the house
-  Inside the house, listening to the Word
-  As a paralytic
-  As a stretcher-bearer
-  With God´s forgiveness
-  Cured, stepping up, walking
-  In the opposition with scribes and Pharisees
-  Glorifying God.